April 18 came and went, and I did not have a baby! This is great news because my husband, daughter and younger son all share that birthday. There are more people in our house born on April 18 than not. But this new buddy will even the score between birthday sharers and non-sharers.
Everyone thinks it’s super weird that we have two kids born on my husband’s birthday, and that’s because it’s super weird. Graham (baby No. 3) came by his birthday honestly, but Charlotte (baby No. 1) was coerced. She arrived 10 years ago, back in the day when it was very popular to schedule an induction before your due date, without any medical reason whatsoever. When my OB at the time recommended inducing, I immediately felt my guard go up. I’d read that OBs like to schedule inductions, so they can plan their calendar and avoid late-night calls or days that are inconvenient. I should have listened to my gut, but I did like the concept of having some control over my delivery. So, I let the OB talk me into scheduling the induction about a week before my due date.
When I went in to be induced on April 18, 2007, I was—fortunately—somewhat dilated. The Pitocin did its job, and my labor progressed very quickly. I reached transition before long, then got an epidural that slowed things back down for a while until it was time to push. I pushed for two hours with that baby, and I was pretty miserable by the end—shaky, tired and dehydrated. When she finally arrived, I tore badly (to the point where the nurses were offering sympathy and volunteering extra meds, assuming I would need them based on how things looked down there). One nurse told me I had a third- to almost fourth-degree tear. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I did have to sit on a doughnut pillow for weeks after the birth. The pain was intense and long-lasting.
It’s impossible to know how that delivery would have gone had I waited to go into labor naturally. However, I do think my tearing was worse than it should have been because of the rushed labor. I was actually lucky to avoid a C-section. I later learned that many inductions do lead to surgical births.
With my subsequent deliveries, I was better informed and personally experienced. I was firm in refusing Cervidil and Pitocin, choosing to wait until my body was ready to have the baby. Of course, I do realize there are lots of cases where induction is the best medical choice, but I always advise other pregnant women not to rush nature by inducing for convenience. And in 2017, it’s far less common for doctors to suggest it. That’s a good thing!
My second delivery experience was nearly the opposite of my first, except that they both took place in hospitals. But that’s a story for another day!